The Magical Neighborhoods of Mexico City

#MexicoToday: In the beginning of the year, we reported the Government investment of 330 million pesos in the the Barrios Magicos (Magical Neighborhoods) program in Mexico City. An initiative led by the Secretary of Tourism of the Federal District, the Barriós Magico Turisticos de la Ciudad de Mexico program proposed to showcase the most culturally rich spaces of Mexico City area to increase tourism.

After months of revision of many neighborhoods, a total of 21 have met the standards and requirements to be certified as a Magical Neighborhood.  The requirements were modeled after the national ‘Magic Towns’ program, having to meet the criteria of either holding some wealth of historic, architectural, cultural, gastronomic, or folkloric image to spark interest in visitors.  It also mandated that access roads to these neighborhoods must adhere to standards of security and cleanliness, while also controlling any unappealing activity so the area remains attractive. The designated budget for these 21 neighborhoods would help provide in maintaining the standards

The 21 Magical Neighborhoods that made the list are: Coyoacán, Roma-Condesa, Xochimilco, San Ángel, San Agustín de las Cuevas, Santa María La Ribera, Zona Rosa, Garibaldi, Villa de Guadalupe, Mixcoac, Tacubaya, Santa María Magdalena Atlitic, Azcapotzalco, La Merced, Mixquic, Cuajimalpa, San Pedro Atocpan, Culhuacán, Tacuba, Santa Julia and Pueblo de Ixtacalco.

Though the 21 neighborhoods blend to make up the entire urban area, they each conserve a distinguishable identity and environment, creating small pockets of culture and tradition sprinkled throughout Mexico City.  Particular points of history, quaint restaurants, hidden museums, flourishing plazas, and beautiful chapels add particular charm to these neighborhoods, connecting normal daily lifestyle with remembrances of the past. Some of the attractions in these neighborhoods have already been internationally recognized by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites, such as the Luis Barragán House and Studio in Tacubaya and also the zone of Xochimilco that have canals that are a reminder of the pre-Hispanic Aztecs. Other sites of interest that are already well-known include the house of renowned artists, Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, in Coyoacán and also one of the most visited churches in the world, La Basílica de Guadalupe in the neighborhood of Villa de Guadalupe. But as the program points out, the neighborhoods don’t necessarily have to have a specific point of interest to qualify as a Barrio Magico; it could simply be the ambiance and character of an area that earns it Magic Neighborhood status, as is the case  in Roma-Condesa, one of the trendiest and most artsy neighborhoods in Mexico.

As interest in travel to Mexico continues to rise, Mexico hopes to designate more Magical Neighborhoods over the next three years. Government and residents plan to continue to work together to conserve these areas and offer better options of culture, recreation, hospitality, and gastronomy to their visitors.

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